lyef & thymes

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The More Things Change

An extremely pessimistic 16 year old Jacob would have told you that the only constant in the world is change. What I find interesting is that I assumed that the way I felt about change would never change. But it has.

I have been moving around alot in my lifetime. I moved to Toronto at age 11, then back to the Maritimes to attend University at age 20, then back to Toronto at 23, then back to the Maritimes at 24. Now I am 26 and I will be moving back to Toronto again.

In some ways this can mess a guy up. The constant uprooting has been hard on the part of me that desires to have deep roots. But in the last two years of living in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, God has given me some amazing mentors and friends who have encouraged me to let my roots grow.

So now I have some roots, it's time to leave the greenhouse and get planted. That means even more change. I am going to move back to Toronto, and if all goes well I will be able to put these roots down there. I love the city, and love the people in it very much. I marvelled as I stood on Yonge street and watched people walking to and fro. They mostly had sunglasses on, and many spoke into cell-phones. They seemed to be embracing two very old ideas:

"No man is an Island unto himself"- John Donne
"The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation"-Henry David Thorough

As people stood at an intersection on the sidewalk, literally inches from another person, they tried desperately to seperate themselves from each other, as though they could actually exist as islands unto themselves, if they tried really hard. But as a result they found themselves in a state of quiet desperation, trying not to let each other know about their problems.

Here's why this is relevant. I have been living in a place where the key strength in the character of the people who live here is that they love and help each other in anyway that they can. As a result of this tendency toward love, there is an increased sense of safety and security in being vulnerable about areas of weakness (desperation).

It seems that the one thing the people in Toronto need (in my own limitted view) is the one thing that I have been learning how to do, which is connect with others, live in community with each other, and be genuine about things that are lacking.

Think about it: On a mountain expedition to the top of Everest, one of the climbers breaks his toe. As a result he/she cannot walk propperly, and a bit of a limp develops. Not wanting to say anything about the awkward appearance of the limp, the other climbers remain silent. Eventually the injured climber stubbornly collapses and falls off the mountain, along with whatever key supplies were in their pack. The whole team suffers because no-one, injured or otherwise, spoke up about the situation and maybe offered to help.

We have things to offer each other that no one knows about. No one knows about the help I can offer because I don't want to risk offending someone by offering the help in the first place, and they surely don't want to ask.

At SSU I have learned how to ask for help when I need it, offer help when it is needed, and seek out community with others so that I may know what strengths and weaknesses are present in my sphere of influence. I look forward to putting this to practice with some of my friends in Toronto, some of whom I know, and others whom I have yet to meet. You may be one of them, who knows!


At 11:20 p.m., Blogger Michael said...

Dude - the whole of Western Society needs to learn about community!
We all arrange our little castles in neat rows and call them "communities" when the spirit of community is no where to be found... we need to be shaken into action - and it's coming. Soon.

I'll certainly be glad to have u back in TO mate.

At 11:30 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen and amen Jake-Oh Murph! we're a species meant to be real but somehow bereft of reality...

ok that sounded too "arsty-academicy" to actually be true, but on one level of course it is.

I think the core of the problem has more to do with our inability to be real with the one who created us, with the One who dictates what is real and what isn't. Even in the church, and even in, if I may be so bold and make the distinction, our cutting-edge second-wave church do we still have the residue of "cop-in-the-sky" at times-I know I certainly have.

As I say, if you can't be real with an omniscient and all-creating God, let alone one who wants to be your Father, then who can you be real with? Honest to God it all starts from there, and just those moments alone have probably brought me more healing and life than any other time, even counselling and encounters and all that great stuff.

Be real-that's the only way to live.


At 12:19 p.m., Blogger Jake-M said...

Mike, I'm glad too.
Matt, I think you have scratched the surface of something. God commands us to look up, and to look around. We are told to love Him, and one another. I argue that if one of those isn't happening, the other can't be going too well.

At 2:47 p.m., Blogger Sgt Steve said...

Jake, I'm excited for what God is doing in your life now. Its gonna be amazing! It will be great to have you back here, really it will. I really like what you said about comunity, and agree that is very important. Maybe thats why I felt so at home in St Stephen. I grew up in a small town and it had a bit of that comunity lifestyle about it. But now it seems that everyone is to busy to stop and say hi, and thats stinks. I have more to say about this but it'd be better to talk in person about it, untill next time my friend...

At 6:29 p.m., Blogger wilsonian said...

"We have things to offer each other that no one knows about. No one knows about the help I can offer because I don't want to risk offending someone by offering the help in the first place, and they surely don't want to ask."

Love this. Really. Am learning something similar right now...

Andrew Gazaneo and I were talking about you at lunch today, and I mentioned that I thought it would be a riot to meet you some time. So... when you move back, lunch in on me :)

At 10:42 a.m., Blogger Andrew G said...


you're a great man Jacob - rich in wisdom and love; I look forward to asking for help, offering it, and building community with you here

soulish prayers or not - you will add a great deal to our community and to Toronto


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